A converted starter, Gagne has emerged as one of the game's premier closers in just his second season in the bullpen.
Gagne, who has a fastball in the high 90s and an intimidating look, also has become one of the Dodgers' most popular players. When he enters home games, scoreboards throughout Dodger Stadium flash, "Game Over."
After emerging from the bullpen, the righthander made quick work of the Cubs as he struck out the first two batters before getting
to fly out to left field.
"Fun to be part of history," Gagne said. "Throw the pitches right, get ahead, keep winning games."
Gagne broke the record set in 1995 by
of Cleveland and has converted his last 48 saves dating to last season. The overall streak is the second-longest in major league history behind
, who recorded 54 straight saves for Boston from 1998-99.
"It is nice to get it out of the way," Gagne said. "I don't think of personal goals. I'm ready for tomorrow and the next night."
"Big guy, he gets better with days," Dodgers manager
said. "It's great to see that record at 39, and it is only August 8. He is not done."
Gagne's latest save nailed down the win for
(3-9), who gave up one run and three hits in five innings.
Los Angeles has won five straight, pulling within 3 1/2 games of Florida and Philadelphia for the National League wild card.
Beltre delivered the game's biggest hit with a two-run homer off
(7-9) in the bottom of the fifth, snapping a 1-1 tie.
Ramirez hit a solo homer for the Cubs, who had a four-game winning streak stopped and fell 2 1/2 games behind first-place Houston in the NL Central.
One of baseball's worst offensive teams, the Dodgers loaded the bases with none out in the bottom of the first but were unable to push across a run. Estes got
to foul out and induced an inning-ending double play grounder from Beltre.
Ramirez gave the Cubs the lead when he opened the second by depositing a 2-1 offering from Ashby over the right field wall for his 14th homer.
Ashby worked out of trouble in the third and cruised through his final two innings as he won for the first time in seven appearances since June 21.
"I had a few good outings," Ashby said. "It's been frustrating here and there. I left the game with a chance to win the game and got the better end of it tonight."
After leaving two runners in scoring position in the fourth, the Dodgers took the lead for good in the fifth.
Estes issued a leadoff walk to Burnitz before Beltre sent a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence for his 11th homer of the season and second in as many nights. A major disappointment this year, Beltre has eight RBI in his last five games.
"The big thing was the walk to Burnitz, then the Beltre home run," Baker said. "Walks will kill you."